Learning to Communicate OnlineTechnology is changing the way people connect and communicate with one another in our world. Students must be aware of these new methods of communication and understand the responsibility that comes with them. Knowing how to communicate online is an important skill in becoming a good digital citizen.Many students understand the power the internet provides to connect with people all around the world. Some families use apps like Skype, Oovoo, or Google Hangouts to speak to family far away. Other students recognize this connectivity when they share in a video gaming experience on XBox Live.There are lots of different ways we can connect with people online and make it seem as though they are right in our living rooms.Types of Online CommunicationInstant Messaging (also referred to as IM) is a way for people to connect and send quick messages back and forth as a form of communication using the web. This method is very popular on cell phones as opposed to laptops or pcs.Messages are short and generally limited to 140 characters or less. Twitter is a popular form of instant messaging where anyone can "follow" a person's posts known as "tweets".Message Boards are another way for people to connect and communicate using the web. Message boards allow people to post longer messages to the people they want to communicate with. Users can also post images, links, and even video to a message board if they wish.Facebook is a very popular example of an online message board. Users can follow people's updates in real time. They can also reply to posts with a comment or by using a "Like" thumbs up symbol.Game Chat Rooms are popular with people who like to play video games in their spare time. Many games offer the ability to "chat" with other players while you are in the game. Some gaming systems have even taken this to the next level allowing gamers to use a microphone and headset to speak with other players in the game.Online Forums like Google Classroom can allow people to connect and share documents in real time. Students have the ability to work collaboratively on projects both in school and at home. They can be in the same document at the same time and communicate while working on a project.Video conferences and video messaging are also popular ways to communicate over the web. People have the ability to use a camera and microphone built into the electronic device to talk to friends and family around the block, or around the world.What are the rules?It's important for you to know that some of these online communication tools have strict age requirements in place for your safety. Students under the age of 13, and in some cases 18 are prohibited from opening an account on social media websites.You should always have Mom and Dad's permission before using any of these webtools. Having the conversation first demonstrates you are a responsible person and a trustworthy digital citizen.It's very important for parents to know what you are doing online and who you might be talking to. Online relationships can be dangerous because you don't always know if the person you are talking to is telling the truth. They can be lying about their age.Sadly, many kids get into serious trouble each year keeping online relationships secret from the adults who can help keep them safe. Always tell an adult if something makes you feel scared or uncomfortable when you're online. The internet is not the safest place to make new friends, but it can be a fun place to meet the friends you already have in school.Dealing with Cyber BulliesMiddle School is an age where old friendships and new friendships meet. Each year schedules change and students find themselves in classes with different people. They make new friends to feel better about their new surroundings.Friendships are mainly centered around common interests. Sports, Books, Science Fiction, and Favorite TV Shows are all examples of interests that can help form friendships. These interests change over time and so the friendships will also change.It's important for you to be a good friend even if your interests have changed and you find yourself with new friends. Old friends can have a difficult time understanding why you aren't excited about hanging out anymore. Everyone is experiencing the same things.Sometimes this change can feel emotional. It's a sad feeling that people get when others have moved on and you might be feeling left out. The good news is that new friendships are made everyday here at LMS, and they are all based on new interests.It's important to remain a good friend even if the friendship has come to an end. Remember the kind way friends treat each other, and avoid saying mean or hurtful things about a person. This can lead to bullying, and it's not good.Cyber Bullying is even worse. The things that are said online have a bigger audience and can get out of control fast. You need to be aware of what you say when you post online.Click the image below to learn more about cyber bullies.Username: mumslib Pw: studentBe an "upstander."If you witness others saying mean things in school or online, have the courage to ask for some help. Tell an adult if someone is misbehaving online and nobody has to know that it's you. If someone is saying mean things about you, you need to let someone know.Strategies for developing a good reputation online...Digital Citizen Strategy #4 - Know the Rules & Get Permission!Talk to parents before getting involved with a social networking or a social media website. Don't register for a site without getting Mom & Dad's permission first.Digital Citizen Strategy #5 - Be an upstander!Use kind words and avoid putting people down or making fun of anyone. Think how it would feel if someone wrote or said the same thing about you online. Remind others if they are making mistakes online.Digital Citizen Strategy #6 - Tell a trusted adult!No. We didn't mess up and repeat one. Sometime's it best to ask a trusted adult for advice if you don't know what to do. Talk to a trusted adult if you see someone else getting into trouble online. You could be saving a friend who might not know the dangers of what they are doing to their reputation.
Last Modified on February 19, 2015